The United States’ economic freedom score is 78.0, making its economy the 8th freest in the 2010 Index. Its score is 2.7 points lower than last year, reflecting notable decreases in financial freedom, monetary freedom, and property rights. The United States has fallen to 2nd place out of three countries in the North America region.
The U.S. government’s interventionist responses to the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 have significantly undermined economic freedom and long-term prospects for economic growth. Economic freedom has declined in seven of the 10 categories measured in the Index.
Uncertainties caused by ongoing regulatory changes and politically influenced stimulus spending have discouraged entrepreneurship and job creation, slowing recovery. Leadership in free trade has been undercut by “Buy American” provisions in stimulus legislation and failure to pursue previously agreed free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Tax rates are increasingly uncompetitive, and massive stimulus spending is creating unprecedented deficits. Bailouts of financial and automotive firms have generated concerns about property rights.